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The Three Religions of Abraham

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Abraham is the father of nations, the father of the faithful and revered as a first figure among three major world religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Who is Abraham? What do we know about his story? Why is he so important to so many people? How has his memory been preserved and transmitted? Are those memories "accurate" to the original story? If not, what accounts for the changes? Why have particular memories of Abraham been preserved and nourished? Why have other memories been forgotten? How do the lives and memories of Abraham inform our world today? Globally? Nationally? Locally?

In the article, "The Legacy of Abraham" author David Van Biema discusses the possibly that the three religions of Christianity, Muslim, and Judaism have a historical connection. All three of these world religions honor Abraham as their ancient patriarch and a model of faith in one God. Throughout this article, the author presents evidence through interpretations from the Bible, Koran and Torah about the history of Abraham and his family. Although, the author shows American readers that Abraham is indeed represented in all three faiths, he also shows that the stories about Abraham are so different that it would be hard to know what religion has the correct version.

The way the author offers an analysis for the reader is by breaking down the 3 religions and discusses the similarities and differences of the stories about Abraham between the religions. The first discussion is about Abraham as a Jew. One discussion by the author is when Abraham inscribes a sign of the Covenant on his body, initiating the Jewish and Muslim customs of circumcision. This custom ties these two religions together. One discrepancy of Abraham is that historians speculate that Abraham lived between 2100 B.C. and 1500 B.C., hundreds of years before the date assign to the actual birth of the religion called Judaism. Finally, another implication of this article is that Abraham believed in one God, called "monotheism" instead of several Gods. Monotheism is the underlying concept of Western Civilization and Abraham is linked with this conception.

The author, Van Biema, also discusses Abraham in the Christian faith. Apostle Paul believed that a believer no longer needed to be Jewish or to follow Jewish law to be redeemed--the way now lay through Christ. The God of the Hebrew Bible also deemed Abraham to be "righteous" years before his circumcision, which meant that his listeners didn't need to become circumcised Jews to be Abraham's inheritors. To be Christian, baptism in faith would more than suffice. This discussion proves that the Christian faith has their own interpretation of Abraham and why they feel their faith is superior compared to the Jewish faith.

This article also discusses Abraham in the Muslim faith. Somewhat like Paul, Islam concluded that God chooses his people on grounds of commitment



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